Consumer Awareness and Attitudes about Behavioral Targeting

TRUSTe conducted a study regarding American Internet users’ knowledge, attitudes and concerns about behavioral targeting and its implications on their online privacy.

Here are the highlights of the study

  • There is high level of awareness that internet activities are being tracked for purposes of targeting advertising.
  • High level of concern associated with that tracking, even when it isn’t associated with personally identifiable information.
  • 71 percent of online consumers are aware that their browsing information may be collected by a third party for advertising purposes, but only 40 percent are familiar with the term “behavioral targeting.”
  • 57 percent of respondents say they are not comfortable with advertisers using that browsing history to serve relevant ads, even when that information cannot be tied to their names or any other personal information.
  • 91 percent of respondents expressed willingness to take necessary steps to assure increased privacy online when presented with the tools to control their internet tracking and advertising experience.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) would choose to see online ads only from online stores and brands that they know and trust and 44 percent of respondents would click buttons or icons to make that happen.
  • To the contrary, 42 percent of the respondents say they would sign up for an online registry to ensure that advertisers are not able to track browsing behaviors, even if it meant that they would receive more ads that are less relevant to their interests.

What do these results mean for Behavioral Targeting?

  1. As I have written before there needs to be education about what Behavioral Targeting is and how it impacts consumers.
  2. A Brand has to build trust with consumers and then only can they venture into behavioral targeting. is a perfect example. I have talked to several people who don’t mind targeting by Amazon, though recognize that Amazon needs to improve on what criteria it uses for targeting.
  3. 91 percent indicated willingness to take steps to control their tracking and advertising experience indicates a strong preference towards an opt-in model which I have advocated several times in previous blog posts.

So if you want to enagage in Behavioral Targeting, online advertising or On-Site, here is my quick 5 steps process

  1. First build a trust with your consumers.
  2. Educate them what Behavioral Targeting is and how you collect the data and use it.
  3. Provide them a compelling reason to allow you to collect their data.
  4. Build an opt-in model allowing users to control what data they want you to use.
  5. Give users a way to easily opt-out of Behavioral Targeting.


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